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The (Liberal) Art of Pursuing an MBA

While it may sound peculiar at first thought, MBA programs are not solely the province of students possessing undergraduate degrees in fields such as accounting, finance, management and marketing. In fact, MBA degree programs also have a certain appeal for working professionals with a liberal arts background. Although liberal arts and science majors do not typically imagine themselves working in business roles, and often ask themselves questions like, “How can I ever succeed in an MBA program if I don’t have any business background?,” earning an MBA can help them open the door to more successful and fulfilling careers.

One reason why pursuing an MBA can be advantageous for liberal arts majors is that employers are placing more emphasis than ever before on verbal and written communication skills, as well as self-awareness and collaboration¹. Additionally, even though many business professionals – including those with liberal arts backgrounds – are naturally talented leaders, others “may need the additional training an MBA program offers” in order to develop “communication and analytical skills to launch them” into leadership roles such as creative director or content marketing manager². Recognizing the importance of developing working professionals into skilled leaders and communicators, Ramapo College’s MBA program highly emphasizes leadership. Through courses such as Becoming a 21st Century Leader and Leading Business in Contemporary Times, liberal arts majors can build the strong foundation they need to pursue future leadership roles within their organizations.

Another advantage of earning an MBA after completing a liberal arts degree is that even if they have not attained any significant responsibilities, students with backgrounds in education, science, humanities and the like possess valuable employment experience in their respective fields³. Even if you are a liberal arts graduate without any business expertise, most MBA admissions counselors will take note of the experience that you do have³. For example, if you have a degree in visual communications or graphic design and have worked at a prominent advertising agency for several years, you’ll likely have a better chance of being accepted into your chosen program than a newly minted business graduate with no professional experience. This shows that business professionals with liberal arts degrees have plenty of opportunities to shine before, during and after their MBA experience.

Another benefit of enrolling in an MBA program is that it provides professionals with liberal arts backgrounds an array of opportunities to expand their networks². By developing lasting relationships with professors, peers and visiting guest lecturers, MBA students can build connections across a variety of industries, ranging from television broadcasting to healthcare and education, as well as to areas like marketing and finance. Ramapo MBA students also have the chance to bolster their professional networks by participating in our two hands-on learning electives, the China Immersion Trip and Capstone Consulting Project. Traveling to Shanghai and Beijing over the course of nine days, participants in the China Immersion Trip network with Chinese students and business professionals while also gaining a deeper understanding of the country’s history and culture. Meanwhile, those participating in the Capstone Project apply skills and concepts learned in the classroom to address real-world business challenges, while simultaneously making valuable connections with our New Jersey and New York corporate partners. 

Yet, the benefits of liberal arts graduates pursuing an MBA extend far beyond networking opportunities and developing valuable leadership skills. Because they often “have a better understanding of the world around them” than marketing, finance or international business alumni, MBA graduates with liberal arts backgrounds are well-versed in historical and cultural knowledge⁴. Not surprisingly, this can ultimately pay dividends for them with regard to managing a company and relating to fellow professionals⁴. What’s more, a foundation in the liberal arts can also help MBA graduates make business decisions with a greater understanding of every stakeholder involved⁴. Not surprisingly, more and more people with liberal arts degrees who work in the business sector are finding an MBA the perfect complement to their undergraduate education.

Ramapo College’s comprehensive, 42-credit MBA degree program is designed with today’s working professionals in mind. Our focus on leadership and critical thinking, along with hands-on learning experiences like the optional China Immersion Trip and Capstone Consulting Project, is an excellent fit for professionals with liberal arts backgrounds striving to broaden their business knowledge. Also, liberal arts majors can sharpen their business skills with Ramapo’s six new foundational courses in key business disciplines such as accounting and marketing.

While Ramapo’s MBA program indeed provides liberal arts majors with the opportunity to gain an invaluable understanding of business principles and practices, it is also designed to fit right into busy schedules. For example, MBA students can earn their degree without sacrificing their day jobs thanks to our Flex program, which includes a hybrid course format blending in-class and online learning components. Students can also maximize their employer reimbursement by opting to spread out their coursework over three to five years, all while gaining valuable work experience in their current positions. Furthermore, Ramapo offers its MBA students the chance to select three electives within a defined track tailored to their undergraduate majors and relevant work experience. For instance, communication arts graduates interested in advertising can pursue the marketing elective track, while those with degrees in economics can choose a track in accounting or finance.

Prospective students interested in learning more about Ramapo’s MBA program are strongly encouraged to visit for more information.

¹Source: Hult International School of Business – “How MBA increases soft skills that matter most to employers” by Rafael Natali. Retrieved from

²Source: U.S. News & World Report – “MBAs Offer More Advantages Than Undergrad Business Majors” by Farran Powell. Retrieved from

³Source: Great Business Schools – “Can I Get an MBA With Only a Liberal Arts Degree?”. Retrieved from

⁴Source: Poets and Quants. “MBA Acceptance Rates by Major” by Jeff Schmitt. Retrieved from

Categories: MBA